McAdams supports Colorado River drought contingency plan

April 8, 2019
Press Release

Washington DC—Congressman Ben McAdams voted for a bipartisan, multi-user agreement setting out steps to conserve Colorado River water use as drought conditions continue to affect storage levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead.  The bill – H.R. 2030, the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act-- passed overwhelmingly in the House. 

McAdams said the bipartisan bill—sponsored by Utah Rep. Rob Bishop and Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva—is critical to allowing states and other water users to avoid a call for involuntary curtailment of use of the water in each Upper Division state-- including Utah--by the federal government.

“The water from the Colorado River is not only the life blood for farmers and ranchers in Eastern Utah, it also supplies drinking water to the rapidly-growing Wasatch Front,” said McAdams. “Both Lake Powell and Lake Mead appear to be operating as designed but both are at uncomfortably low levels. Congress needed to act quickly so that the new agreement can be implemented, and water conservation efforts can begin.”

Since 2000, the Colorado River Basin and much of the state of Utah have been in a severe drought.  McAdams said water managers don’t know whether the drought will continue or, due to climate change, may permanently alter the river as a water source.  He said the Upper Basin Drought Contingency plan is aimed at protecting Upper Basin water supplies by keeping Lake Powell from falling below a specified critical elevation. Its aim is to help ensure that hydropower needs, water delivery and protections for endangered species continue in compliance with the Colorado River Compact—the law which divides the Colorado River between seven Colorado River Basin states and the country of Mexico.